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Senior housing project starts Sept. 23

Staff writer

Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin said Marion High School construction teacher Lucas King is planning to pour the foundation for the first unit of a senior living housing complex west of Warrior Stadium on North Eisenhower.

Homestead Affordable Housing purchased four acres of land off Eisenhower from Ralph Popp last summer and plans to put in 10 duplexes intended for residents 55 years of age and older.

Homestead president and chief executive officer Tom Bishop said his company consulted with USDA rural development department representative Richard Boyles, who encouraged the non-profit organization to go ahead with the project.

“The USDA thinks this is a model needed in a number of different communities,” Bishop said.

Homestead had previously contracted with USD 408 and King for the high school’s house project last year at the corner of Denver and Eisenhower. The high school construction class will work on the first duplex of the project during this school year. Kjellin said Homestead has submitted a plat application for the property and a building permit for the first duplex.

Bishop said the high school class could construct more of the units in the complex but the company is waiting for interest from renters before building more units. The plan for the site calls for 10 duplexes, 20 housing units, that would comply with the American Disabilities Act.

He said Homestead has the option to develop the rest of the property as single-family residential, like the house at Denver and Roosevelt, if an interest for the units does not develop.

“It’s really going to depend on the level of interest,” Bishop said.

Bishop and Kjellin both said they have received calls from people interested in renting houses. If an interest builds quickly, Bishop said Homestead would look into hiring local contractors to build more houses in the summer. He has spoken to local contractors, but there has been no concrete agreement.

Kjellin described the project as a joint effort among Homestead, the city, USD 408, and the USDA.

He said the city will build water and sewer lines for the project. The four-acre plot was previously farmland without access to plumbing.

Bishop has talked with USDA rural development about getting a community facility grant, which could cover up to 75 percent of the project’s costs according the USDA website.

The grant would include provisions to pave the subdivision completely, although Bishop is also looking at paving individual housing sections as the duplexes are constructed.

Last year, Marion Assisted Living expressed interest in a similar project. Former director Janet Blue said her boss Bob Brooks pulled out of discussions for a project including 18 units because he was worried about liability for high school students during the construction process.

Marion Assisted Living is not involved with Homestead in the current project current assisted living director Bonnie Sawyer said.

Last modified Sept. 22, 2011

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